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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    former dancer, fan!
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  1. You know what does confuse me about the Vaganova graduates is the sometimes marked difference in the age of graduates of the same year - does anyone have any reason why that is? I assumed the pupils graduate when they are 18 and then now that they added the extra year in 2007, at 19. But this does not seem to be universally the case. Take 2008 graduates, for example: there were Mariinsky joiners who were born '89 (making them 19) but a few born in '88 and at least 1 from '87. Are there different "courses" which makes difference in graduation age occur, or do the pupils just enter the Academy at different ages?
  2. Did anyone see the Vaganova Graduation Performances this year, and is anyone aware of new dancers who have been taken to the Company? I believe that in this class was Alexandra Somova (sister of Alina), as well as Sasha Saveliev and many other big talents?
  3. In my opinion, the best Aurora of the Royal Ballet currently is Marianela Nunez (her performances this season were wonderful). Alina Cojocaru for me is second, but it's a matter of taste! I am not a big fan of Rojo as Aurora, she seems a little too "distant" somehow in the role although she is of course technically wonderful!
  4. I'm sure Nunez will do the Ashley role in Ballo. I would guess the 2nd cast would be Rojo or Sarah Lamb, can't imagine that they would put Cojocaru through the attempt after this season's Sphinx story... Actually, Morera (so underestimated!) has rock solid technique as well so that's another possibility. Back to McGregor, it scares me watching what he does to his ballerinas who then go back to dance Sleeping Beauty the next day! I'm not surprised RB had so many girls off injured this last 2 seasons, because the mix of repertoire is a bit too much! Nunez for example, has been on stage so much this season - and so many different roles: Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Larisch, Limen, Sphinx, Infra, Sugar Plum Fairy, Concerto, Elite Syncopations, Lise, now Cinderella debut, Juliet... next week Wheeldon and New Scarlett... I think the only programme she didn't appear in was Patineurs/Beatrix Potter. Wow!
  5. Actually I notice now that Cuthbertson has hardly been cast in anything for Period 4 - I really hope that doesn't mean they are still not expecting her to be back then... I thought Nunez was very convincing in Diamonds: she is not so-much the Farrell type, but she brought it off in a different way. Added to which, as well as being great in Adage she is actually fairly tall (she must be at least 5'6") so this casting makes sense in my opinion. Cojocaru is more against type, but I will also look forward to see what she does with it!
  6. I get this feeling that the Mariinsky management maybe thought that Somova would be very "marketable" to the West. First of all, I think it's a tendency to think that Americans/West Europeans appreciate this kind of "show-bizz" quality, and that same "Hollywood" aesthetic, which Somova has... Also, there is the tradition that the Russian companies maybe feel they have to show something more than what is available from the West. The whole success of this Russian ballet culture was built upon showing things to the West which could only be shown from the Russians, which no Western dancers or companies were capable of. So these days, every major company can produce a great performance of the Sleeping Beauty; maybe the Mariinsky wants to show they have something "different" and "special" in this girl who can do a 180 degrees extension in the Rose Adagio which you don't see in Wstern companies. If that was the case, it was a big misjudgement. Certainly, they seem to have misjudged the tastes of the British critics and public, because Somova's performance wasn't well received at all in London; to the point where Irina Golub was applauded way more than Somova as Juliet. Furthermore, any company really could throw some girl on stage to do 180 degrees extensions in the classics (Monica Mason could just give the role to Melissa Hamilton in RB whose flexibilities are even more than Somova's, for example!). I wonder if now they start to realise that they have made a misjudgement, which was unfortunately harmful to them and also to Somova... She has been surely developed too fast and given too many roles without good guidance; she must be aware of the bad critics she gets and that can't be nice at all for her! On a completely different (although related) subject, am I right thinking that Alina's sister graduates Vaganova this year?? And, it's great to see Daria Pavlenko is finally getting back her roles! I look forward to seeing her perform some of her best roles again, I hope!
  7. And a great honour for us in London too, to have such a great replacement for Lauren!
  8. News from the Royal ballet: Evgenia Obraztsova will perform Aurora in the Royal Ballet's upcoming run of the Sleeping Beauty, as a replacement for Lauren Cuthbertson. Her partner will be David Makhateli. Great news for all Evgenia's London fans!
  9. There have been this week some important changes to casting for the booking period 1. I'll run through it quickly! Due to illness, Lauren Cuthbertson won't perform any of her scheduled roles until the new year. She is replaced as follows: By Mara Galeazzi for Mary Vetsera in Mayerling (3, 10 November). This is for the cast of Thiago Soares' debut. By Galeazzi in Agon on 4, 13, 18 November, and by Yuhui Choe on 5, 9, 17 November- role debut By Evgenia Obraztsova in the Sleeping Beauty (31 October, 14, 21 November) By Marianela Nunez in the Nutcracker on 27 November, 5 December and by Laura Morera on 11, 30 December As you can see, Lauren had many scheduled performances, so it must have been quite some organization to replace her. Federico Bonelli is injured, and replaced for his performances this autumn as follows: 30 October, 12, 17 November: By Johan Kobborg in Tamara Rojo's Sleeping Beauty cast 26 November, 2 December: Replaced by Steven McRae in the Nutcracker (with Miyako Yoshida, which is apparently her season with RB). Role debut Zenaida Yanowsky is replaced for her only scheduled performances this autumn, in Agon. 4, 13, 18 November, Melissa Hamilton will make her role debut in her place. Viacheslav Samodurov too has been replaced for his only scheduled performances in booking period one or two: Steven McRae will replace him in The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Marquez's cast, 31 October, 6, 14 November, McRae's role debut. No reason given for this change... The cast of Wayne McGregor's new work, which is now named Limen and is in the triple bill with Agon and Sphinx, has been announced, as follows: Leanne Benjamin, Samantha Raine, Steven McRae, Ryoichi Hirano, Marianela Nuñez, Helen Crawford, Brian Maloney, Liam Scarlett, Sarah Lamb, Olivia Cowley, Eric Underwood, Johannes Stepanek, Melissa Hamilton, Sian Murphy, Edward Watson and Sergei Polunin. It's the same cast for all performances. I hope that makes it a bit more understandable! Meanwhile, the season already opened with Mayerling last week. Sleeping Beauty will open next week also. I've only seen 1 performance of Mayerling (Watson, Galeazzi, Lamb) so I'll write a little about it when I've seen other casts too..
  10. I hadn't seen this mentioned, so just thought I would write about it here: The highly thought of Maryinsky coryphée, Maria Chugai has left Maryinsky ballet and is now dancing with Dutch National Ballet - she joined the Company this season, as a coryphée, presumably a bit late since she was still with the Mariinsky in London. Masha won first prize in the 6th International Vaganova Grand prix, and joined the Maryinsky in 2006. Since then, she was attracting a lot of attention for her performances in coryphee, soloist roles and divertissements. She is certainly a really beautiful dancer, very musical, not at all the long legs/big extension type which the Maryingky management has favoured lately. Certainly a good aquisition for Dutch National Ballet, and I'm sure Masha will be missed in St P! Good luck to her!
  11. Even more so - Polunin has been at RBS since he was in his early teens, he even spent time at White Lodge! He may not be pure 'Royal Ballet material', the same for Nunez, but it doesn't mean you can say they are not demonstrative of RB style, just because they have had outside influence.
  12. On the other hand: Nunez has been at RB (plus a year at RBS) longer than she trained in South America. Her coaching in the Classics has been given to her by former RB artists and RB coaches, her time in the corps was at RB. She is arguably the best Ashton dancer in the Company (at least among the principals and soloists) and arguably the best exponent of the RB's traditional mime out of any of the female principals. Yes, she may have come to London as a South American virtuoso, she may keep those qualities still today - but it doesn't mean she can 'never' be an RB dancer, and I would definitely say that her maturity as an artist has come from the Royal Ballet. And in terms of what she does, she may guest a bit but she is very much a Company dancer - she spends most of her time and does most of her performances at London and with RB.
  13. On the other hand, we can't really blame the current AD, Monica Mason for that. It was Anthony Dowell who pushed Cojocaru first of all, and Ross Stretton who heaped so many Principal roles on her. We can even look at Cojocaru's brief stay with Kiev Opera Ballet and say that this was the start of many of her problems... Monica Mason had to continue with Cojocaru from the point where Stretton had taken her - she couldn't really stop her dancing the roles she'd already danced under Stretton and Dowell with no good reason! But look at how well Mason paced Marianela Nunez - and how remarkable her growth as an artist has been as a result. Also, how few injuries she has had compared to others... Nunez may be an 'import' but she is really a Royal Ballet dancer by now - not a foreign star. The same can be said about many of the RB's foreign principals and soloists.
  14. Drew: Alina Cojocaru is still back on stage, and is scheduled to dance this autumn - as far as I know, she will perform. Originally, Cojocaru was scheduled to dance Mary Vetsera in Mayerling on the opening night of the season, but she was replaced by Leanne Benjamin. Cojocaru said in a few interviews, that she prefers not to dance this role yet after her recent injury problem, because it's a role that she has to commit herself physically 100% and at the moment it's better for her to take still some precautions.. However, she will dance Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty with Kobborg and she will take the female lead in Sphinx, with Polunin and McRae. The other cast in Sphinx is Marianela Nunez, with Ed Watson and Rupert Pennefathers - all the dancers in both casts making debuts in the ballet. I forgot to say there is also a triple bill in November: Agon, Sphinx and a new work by McGregor (as yet untitled and no casting listed...) Alexandra: Things that I'm particularly looking forward to are: Thiago Soares's debut in Mayerling (it will be a good role for him, I think!); McGregor's new work (it's interesting to see how he's developing his choreography in each new work); seeing both Nunez and Cojocaru in Sphinx lead; Marianela Nunez's Aurora; and seeing Sarah Lamb again after she has been absent from the London stage for more than one year!
  15. Also wanted to add that these will be the first performances of Sarah Lamb that we see here in London for more than a year, after her injury last season! We will definitely be very happy to see her back!
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